Networking is key in any search these days but it is especially critical if you want to move out of your current industry into another, or from one job group into one you have not worked.
Just sending resumes out in these cases is often futile because the HR person reviewing your resume only sees the skill sets and industry experience on your resume and not your potential. If your skill sets and industry experience does not match the job description often your resume is discarded.
The best way to find a job in this situation is through networking. But, don't limit your outreach to close friends and current colleagues. Cast your net much wider and reach people beyond your immediate circle. Here are three steps to do that:
- Broadly define your network. You have more contacts than you think. Consider friends from church, friends in Rotary or Lion clubs, former classmates, former colleagues, clients, and community acquaintances. When you make a contact, ask for introductions to others. Especially ask for introductions to people in companies that you are interested in.
- View discussions as learning opportunities. Don’t scare your friends away. Approach these meetings as conversations, not interviews. Ask about more than jobs. Ask about the industry, how to succeed, and how to position yourself.
Keep good records. Connecting with many people can be complicated. After each meeting, write down what you learned and what you'll do as a result.